We have a committed and expert team of Governors who support and guide the School.

The Governors of Downe House act as the Trustees of the School in respect of its status as a charity and to provide strategic guidance on the running of the School. They are responsible for appointing the Headmistress and Bursar and are the point of last appeal on issues such as the exclusion of a pupil or employees’ grievances.

We are fortunate to have a group of Governors who bring a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience to the School. Many are current parents, former parents or past pupils, but some have no previous connection with the School and provide an even broader perspective. They are all volunteers who receive no remuneration and gain no pecuniary advantage from their position, but without them, the School could not function either legally or practically.

The full Board of Governors meets four times a year and there is a smaller Nominations Panel which convenes once a year to consider new candidates for election as Governors. The Governors’ Committees: Finance and General Purposes Committee, Education Committee and Estates Sub-Committee also meet four times a year in advance of Board meetings. In addition, Governors meet at least once a year to fulfil their statutory obligations as Directors and Trustees of the School’s various subsidiary bodies.

The current Board of Governors:

  • Mr Matthew J L Kirk, MA (Chairman of Governors)
  • Ms Elizabeth Clarke, BA, CPE
  • Mr Simon Creedy-Smith, BA, ACA (Chairman of Finance & General Purposes Committee)
  • Lady Cunningham, BSc FRCP
  • Ms Veryan Exelby, MA
  • Mrs Joanna Grant Peterkin DL, BA, PGCE (Chairman of Education Committee)
  • Ms Fru Hazlitt
  • Mrs Fiona Holmes
  • Mr Nicholas Hornby, BSc
  • Dr Christopher O’Kane, MA, MB BChir, MSc, DPhil
  • Mr Christopher Radford, BSc, FRICS (Chairman of Estates Sub-Committee)
  • Dr Clare Ratnage, Bsc MBChB, MRCP, MRCGP
  • Mr Mark Ridley
  • Mr Joe Smith, BA MEd PGCE
  • Mr Mark Wippell, MA, LLM

The Finance and Administration Bursar, Mr Colin Cockburn FCCA acts as Clerk to the Governors.

All correspondence for the Board of Governors should be addressed to the Clerk to the Governors.

Our Headmistress

Meet the Headmistress of Downe House, Mrs Emma McKendrick.


Why choose Downe House?

We understand that choosing a school for your daughter is a complex process. Find out what makes a Downe House education stand out and why you should choose us.


Our history

Did you know that Downe House was founded in 1907 in the home of Charles Darwin in Kent and moved to Cold Ash in 1922? Find out more about our history.



Get directions to Downe House RG18 9JJ. We are located on a 110-acre site in the village of Cold Ash in West Berkshire with excellent transport links just two miles from the M4 and A34 and under an hour’s drive to Heathrow Airport.

About Us location 1000 x 1000 downe house school

Visits & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?